Levi Mewborn  



NOTE: F. Lee Edwards, dec did most of the research for this line and shared it with me many years ago. There are some additional obits etc from Ima's records and other sources. Levi was called "Rich Levi" to distinguish him from his nephew, my g g grandfather who was "Poor Levi." Most of this line used an "e" on the end of the name and many of the descendants still attend Gordon Street Christian Church in Kinston. There is a drawing of his home in the Collection and the family cemetery is still in existence between Hwy 58 N and the airport. It is my understanding the remains of the house can still be seen among the weeds. (mmm)

By F. Lee Edwards - April 15, 1984

Who was Levi Mewborn? As I talk about him, a few dates will be mentioned so you can better follow chronologically certain major events that transpired in his development and life.

Parrott Mewborn I died in the year 1807, leaving a widow and eight children at home, ranging in age from eighteen to three year of age. The burden of being the man of the house fell to the lot of Hardy Mewborn, age eighteen, and Levi Mewborn, age fourteen. Their mother, Lydia Hardy Mewborn, never remarried. Two or three years later Hardy married Deborah Parrott, the daughter of John and Hannah Parrott. They had two children named Harriet and Nancy. In 1815, Hardy died, leaving his widow Deborah and the two children.

Levi now became the eldest son, and the head of the household. He had the responsibility of his mother; his brother' widow and two children; and his younger brothers and sisters, which is a great burden for a man in his early twenties. Levi either eased or complicated the situation by marrying Deborah, Hardy's young widow, in 1816. Later he added to his responsibilities by having two children of his own. Son John Parrott Mewborn was born in 1818, and daughter May Ann Mewborn was born in 1822.

Levi's mother Lydia, died between 1821 and 1830 according to census records.

In 1828, Deborah died, leaving Levi with four children (his two and his brother Hardy's two). He courted Susanna Matilda Parrott, called Susan, a girl of seventeen, about the age of his older stepdaughter. At the age of thirty-six, Levi took Susan for his second wife. Eighteen months after the death of his first wife, Levi and Susan had their first child whom they named - Deborah.

During the next twenty-three years Levi and Susan produced nine more children.

Cousin John F. Mewborne was recognized as being the only grandchild of Levi Mewborn who was present at the meeting. His grandfather, Levi, was born in the 1700's, his father was born in the 1800's and he was born in the 1900's.

As the records of both Lenoir and Greene Counties were burned in the 1870's, records are not readily available. However, we know that sometime after the death of their father, Parrott Mewborn II moved over to Greene County near this church at Jason, and Levi relocated about half a mile west of Mewborn's crossroads in North Lenoir County on the north side of Lousan's Swamp, the headwaters of Stonington Creek. Current maps show the swamp as Stonington. Part of the property is now included in the local airport. Levi's grave and the graves of his wives Deborah and Susan are located east of the present boundaries of the airport and across the creek from his home site in a thicket north of an unpaved state road named "Chicken-Shack Road" on the county map, and across from a Black church constructed of concrete blocks named "St. Peter's.". "Chicken-Shack Road", has sine been renamed Benjamin Franklin Parrott Road.

Levi's house was burned in 1915, and his son James Mewborn built a brick house on the site of the bedroom in which he was born. The house is still standing, but abandoned. He had a mill pond and mill on the creek near his home, but as yet, I have been unable to locate it.

Levi Mewborn did well, financially. The 1850 Census, the last before his death in 1855, placed his property value at twelve thousand dollars. Although this seems like a small amount by today's standards, at that time it would put him in the top ten to fifteen percent of landowners in Lenoir County.

Most of his descendants have been active and supporters of what is now Gordon Street Christian Church. They were active in the Little Sister meeting House (founded in 1831). This meeting house was located a little over two miles from Levi Mewborn's gravesite. Jacob Parrott and Persis Arendall Parrott, the parents of Levi's second wife Susan, were among its charter members. The congregation later moved its meeting place to Kinston. Some of the silver communion service currently in use at Gordon Street Christian Church is inscribed to the memory of Annie Mewborn LaRoque.

A re-entry in the Lenoir County Deed Records made in 1881, shows that on November 28, 1853, Levi Mewborn "for and in consideration of the love and desire I have for the common schools have given and granted to the said Needham Moore and Lemuel H. Mewborn and their successors in office, a certain tract of land… for a school house. It is said that on this site was erected the "Fairfield School" near Mewborn's Crossroad. This entry on a public document speaks for itself.

In October 1855, Levi Mewborn was engaged in blowing up stumps with gunpowder. After a charge did not go off when expected, and after waiting a reasonable time, he approached the stump and was fatally injured when the charge exploded.

Susan Mewborn survived her husband by thirty-eight years. She continued to provide financial, physical, and moral support to her family until her health failed her in the late 70's. She provided for her orphaned grandchildren and relatives who called her "Dam-mammie."

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